Gators focused on finishing season on high note

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Florida defensive lineman Cece Jefferson greets fans as the team makes its way through Gator Walk on Saturday before the game vs. Georgia at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. [Brad McClenny/ The Gainesville Sun]

Florida’s 36-17 loss to Georgia put an end to UF’s hopes of winning the SEC Eastern Division, and the team knew it in the immediate aftermath.

After winning six of its first seven contests, Florida would be staying home for the second consecutive season, with Georgia and Kentucky set to battle it out for a spot in the SEC Championship Game this Saturday.

It would have been easy for the Gators to harp on the lost opportunities and lament the failures they had just suffered. It had happened just a year ago, as the loss to Georgia, and subsequent firing of Jim McElwain, in 2017 sent the team reeling, too.

However, the team was able to focus on the few bright spots that emerged in defeat.

“I wanted this one really, really bad. But things didn’t go our way, so I got a couple more games left with my brothers and we’re in The Swamp the next three home games,” senior defensive end Cece Jefferson said. “I’m just going to brush this off, watch this film and just get prepared to go out and attack each week.”

The four weeks remaining on the schedule should see the Gators favored in all contests, although a battle with Missouri is up next, and Florida will prepare to face a team that will also come in looking to redeem a letdown over the weekend.

“We got Homecoming next week going back home, we got three straight in The Swamp coming up, a lot of great things and a lot of football still to play for this team,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “I want to see our guys attack the week with the right attitude, continue to clean up on the mistakes that we’ve made in the course of the game, and hopefully just continue to grow and be a better football team.”

The Tigers have talent, and the Gators who will hit the field come Saturday seem cognizant of the threat Missouri presents — especially if UF expects to escape Homecoming with an undemanding victory.

“We just got to keep on grinding, keep on working. And on Monday, we got to keep on going,” quarterback Feleipe Franks said. “The most important thing right now is just everybody have a positive attitude towards next week. It’s a quick turnaround, and we have the opportunity to go out there and win a big time game (against) the team that beat us last year.”

The Gators haven’t been driven much by revenge this season, instead focusing on the controllable variables inside the program. But the team seems eager to let the 45-16 loss at Missouri motivate them — ultimately, the focus is on finding enough motivation to carry UF through the final stretch.

“Last year we let Missouri run through us. It was kind of a downhill type of time. We let the rope slip. We just gave up in that season early,” linebacker David Reese said. “So, we just want to show that we’re not the same program, and we’re just building as a team.”

56 COMMENTS

  1. Hold the ball against your body with both hands, and things will “go your way” with more regularity. Also, throw the ball to the players wearing the same color jersey as the one you are wearing. If you can’t remember which color is your team, do not throw the ball. Hold onto it with both hands and take the sack.

    On defense if you want things to “go your way” consider wrapping people up when you tackle instead of just bouncing off of the opposing players and then laying on the turf shaking your head like “what just happened?” What happened is you did not do your job.

    For the whole team, remember that the first quarter counts just as much as the other three. If you keep sleeping through the first quarter, spotting the other team 10 and 18 points leads, you will keep finding that “things don’t go your way” for some mysterious reason resulting in those Ls.

    It’s been a good season, but insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Time to improve on your errors and start making your own luck. Keep turning the ball over and missing tackles, and things will continue to not “go your way.”

    • Exactly, what do we have coming in next year? We have taken a major step forward this year, especially if we beat FSU. But we are not ready for prime time yet and solid reinforcements are required.
      I have been a defender of Franks all year, but now I’m ready to see more of Jones. Not sure Franks gets us to the next level. None the less, go Gators and can’t wait for hoops to start.

      • Well I can tell for for sure Franks will most definitively NOT take us to the next level. And if he doesn’t stop throwing INTs and losing fumbles we may drop one of the next 2 games as well.
        Having said that I hope we win out and go 10 – 2 into the bowl game. Don’t want to call for Trask to come in it’s probably too late for that now but for sure more of Emory Jones is needed.

    • Well, Jones gets two more games before they have to shut him down for the year (love the new rule by the way). I hope one of those games is the bowl game. It will probably be a challenging opponent if this team gets to 10 wins and it will be good to have Jones get a lot of reps during bowl practice and force the other team to prep for two QBs.

  2. Mizzou is a tough match up for our secondary. DL needs pressure on their QB. They sure whipped us last year. Hopefully the TEAM wants a shot at redemption in front of their FANS. I think our Gators will be well motivated on Saturday. Go Gators!

  3. What I saw Saturday was a QB not ready for prime time. Unfortunately and this is my opinion I don’t think Franks will ever be an SEC QB. He makes the same mistakes over and over with almost 3 years in he just doesn’t have it.. . Glad to see Emory in there with some reps, I saw him play in High School and I can tell you he’s got the it factor. His Arm is as good as Franks and he is a better runner. I think we will see a lot more of Emory Jones in the next 4 games. Heck I would start him now or at least by the Utah game

  4. It was a rough game and demo started EXACTLY what I’ve said on here multiple times in the last two weeks which is, at THIS POINT in his tenure here, Mullen is no better than McElwain. That may change. At this point in McElwains tenure, the loss of Will Grier started to really show up in the offensive stats. But as of right now, Mac was as good or better than Mullen. I’ve had the typical delusional Gator fans say illogical things like this team is “obviously better” than the 2015 team was at this point and this team”passes the eye test”, and even though their statements totally go against the facts and logic of this discussion, if you didn’t get on their blindly obsessed orange and blue bandwagon and subscribe to the flavor of the week opinions, you were an “FSU fan” or “don’t know football”. All this talk of how much better Franks is and how much more explosive and consistent the offense is can be put to rest now. Here’s some FACTS for the delusional football geniuses out there that have been talking so much worthless trash. At this point in the season the 2018 team has scored a whopping 10 points more than the 2015 team did at this same point of the season. Not 10 points per game, 10 total points. I guess that “obviously a better offense” and “passes the eye test” and if anyone doesn’t agree, they “don’t know football”. Lol. That big 1.25 ppg is a HUGE improvement. Points differential between the Gators and their opponents in at this point in 2015…… plus 124. Points differential in 2018…..plus 106. Hmmmm Id say Mac was doing as well or even BETTER than Mullen. And the ultimate stat……. Mac was 7-1 at this point and Mullen is 6-2! But I know there is a certain pack of psycho, illogical, typically ignorant fans on here that will ignore all of those facts and simply go bezerk and throw out their random opinions about how Mullen is “obviously better than Mac”. So be it. Let the idiots be idiots. That’s what this fan base has become known for anyways. I thought it was a little funny that the CBS announcers made excuses for our fans not being in the stadium well after kickoff by saying there is “tight security” outside the stadium which slowed their entrance. Like Georgia fans weren’t subject to the same security!! It’s pathetic what our fans have become. Anyways, like I’ve been saying for WEEKS, in the face of an onslaught of boneheads on here, we don’t know if Mullen is going to be any better than Mac. It’s too early to tell. I hope he will be but who knows?? It’s just as likely that Gator fans will be booing him 3 years from now as cheering him. Let’s let things pan out before we anoint him the next great Gator coach. And NO, he’s NOT obviously better at this point. In fact, he’s worse. That being said, I think Mullen is a good coach and will get the job done. But I refuse to be the psycho fan that ignores the fact that this could all turn ugly just as fast as it did for Mac.

      • Tampamoron. Typical behavior from the type of fan that gives us all a bad name. If you disagree with someone, just make some really stupid and childish remark and call them a fan of another team. Dude, you are literally the biggest loser on here. You really need to quit posting on here a dozen times a day and get a freaking life.

    • OK, LT I’ll bite. There’s such a HUGE falacy in your logic that I’m a bit surprised this has to be spelled out, but here goes. There is no way to reasonably compare the 2015 and 2018 teams in terms of pure stats. The 2015 Team was FAR more talented. The national recruiting ranks for the 4 years prior for the 2015 team: 2011 #11, 2012 #3, 2013 #4, 2014, #8. For the 2018 Team: 2014 #8, 2015 #23, 2016 #14, 2017 #9. Since the recruiting classes from the 2 and 3 years prior to the season tend to make up the bulk of the starters, the 2015 team was composed of mostly #3 and #4 ranked classes. The 2018 team is made up mostly of #23 and #14 ranked classes. In addition, the 2015 SEC East is considered by most to be the worst set of teams the combined East has fielded. The Gators East opponents only had 16 conference wins among them. The East’s ONLY win over the West aside from UF’s win over Ole Miss was UGA beating a horrible Auburn Team that finished last in the West.

      With all of that talent and the easy East, that 2015 team finished with the #112 Offense. The 2018 squad just dropped this week to #78, a stat that is almost guaranteed to go up as the season progresses. 78 is lower than the Gators offense should ever be, but it’s still 34 teams better than 2015. (See Stats can say whatever you want them to say 😉 )

      As for the “Smell” test, this team IS more “fun” to watch and requires less antacid regardless of the Wins and Losses. There’s no doubt in my mind that if this staff were given the 2015 squad and the pure smothering defense that the 2018 team doesn’t have (2015 team had 8 games where they gave up <=14 points) the statistical results wouldn't even be close to one another.

      The future is bright. Grab your shades. GO GATORS!!!

      • Boom town. At least you brought some facts to the table which is a far cry from some of the boneheads on here. As far as recruiting rankings, they are just opinion. This team has plenty of talent and nobody has said anything else than that until after the Georgia game. As far as total offense rankings go, I mentioned in my post that the 2015 numbers went down after Grier was suspended. We are talking about at THIS POINT in the season. The whole discussion has been who has been better up to THIS POINT so the 2015 teams end of year offensive rankings don’t play in to this discussion. What if Franks goes down and we HAVE to play Jones? Is it inconceivable that Florida would become one dimensional and their offensive stats tank towards the end of the year? Which is my entire point. We don’t know how things are going to turn out. People say based on what they’ve seen that Mullen is obviously better. We haven’t seen a whole season yet! People thought Mac was the best thing since sliced bread at this point in his first season. He was 7-1 and was ranked higher than this team. We just don’t know yet. It’s pure speculation that is not based on fact. As far as being fun to watch, that again is just opinion. People don’t seem to remember how things were just 3 years ago. That team was extremely fun to watch. Until about this point in the season when teams realized that without Grier we really weren’t a threat to pass the ball. The Tennessee game that year was a classic. The Georgia game, which I attended and had a great time, was a extremely fun game to watch. People literally seem to have amnesia. This is EXACTLy the same thing people were saying about Mac when comparing him to Muschamp at this point in the 2015 season. Mac was clearly a better coach than Muschamp, Macs offense is light years better, it’s more fun to watch, the team has more confidence, etc, etc, etc. I’ve seen this before and I refuse to ignore history and facts until we have actually seen enough of Mullen to know what kind of coach he is going to pan out to be. Others can live off emotion if they want, I’ll stick to staying grounded and logical.

        • Stop being so hostile and bashing Gator fans in general. If you can do that then maybe you won’t get so many hostile responses.
          I believe Grier played in the first 6 games that year and after he was out it was obvious we were toast since we didn’t have a QB to replace him. Harris had his best game his first time out against LSU and yet he ended the game with a long string of incompletions killing any chance at a comeback. After that he got progressively worse and we had no chance and no hope from the on. Something very common in the mac years, players getting progressively worse as the season and the years went by. Think about it.
          Just by that yardstick you can say Mullen is a much superior coach, none of his players have regressed.

          • CO Jones. Wasn’t hostile until these so called fans like Tampamoron started calling names and doing the typical BS that our fans have become known for. And of coarse you had a pack of other idiots join in with him. I simply stated an opinion backed by facts and Gator fans did what they do. Go nasty and turn on your own people.

          • LT I’ve given you several facts before, yet you seem to just ignore them and only focus on wins and losses. Are you trying to say at this point in the season compared to 2015, that Grier and Franks are equal QB talents? Are you trying to say the defense we had in 2015, with guys like Hargreaves, Quincy Wilson, Duke Dawson, Marcus Maye, Teez Tabor, Brian Poole, Jarrad Davis, Keanu Neal, Caleb Brantley, Jonathan Bullard, all players starting in the NFL right now, is comparable to the defense we have now? Your facts are solely based on wins and losses and points scored, without looking at the facts that actually matter. Here’s another fact, the East now is far stronger than it was back then. That 2015 team was way more talented at the positions this team is severely lacking and there’s no doubt had Mullen been coaching that team, not only would Grier have been starting from game one and not flip flopping with the worst QB to ever put on a Gator uniform, but they would’ve scored a hell of a lot more points and would’ve played with a lot more heart and fight to end the season. It’s also pretty safe to say with Savage running things, that Grier would’ve never gone to GNC and played all season and probably competed for a title. The play calling is vastly improved from the same 4 or 5 plays Nuss called every game. Not sure how you can’t see that. Do you really believe if Mac were still the coach and had the same S&C program, that this team would be 6-2 right now? Do you really think that UGA game would’ve been a 9pt game until 8 minutes left in the 4th with him still running things? I mean you wonder why you get the reaction you do when you say stuff that is just so off the wall ridiculous that there’s no other way to respond. It just makes everyone think you’re a troll, cause trolls say crazy things to get a reaction.

    • I’ll just have to disagree with you 100% LT. Coach Mullen is light years better as a head coach than Coach McElwain. Any attempt at trying to justify McElwain is just silly. Are your jockeys just a little too tight…squeezing off circulation?

        • Are you an alter ego of another persona on here?

          I suggest you drop the “Me Against the World” routine, because all in all you probably have a decent argument to make if you will just stop being so hostile right off the bat! I start out reading with interest because you’re obviously intelligent and trying to make a point, and then lose it because you do.

          • Gator 6 Please refer to other posts over the last two weeks to see who started with the hostility. As soon as I tried to get people to pump the brakes and consider that they might be getting a little carried away with their opinion on Mullen, the jacka@&$ came out of the woodwork and started personally attacking me. And it’s just become frustrating to me that our fans are so quick to be such total pieces of crap toward other Gator fans, coaches, players, or whomever they have the slightest problem with. It makes it even worse that some of the people here engage in mob mentality and join in with jerks like Tampamoron.

          • I get you on that, but with certain personalities you just can’t win. That notwithstanding, I thought Joe gave you a pretty good argument — some sarcasm back and forth, sure — but I enjoyed reading the exchange. You guys pretty much held your own and there were some decent points exchanged.

            On one front, you know what you’re dealing with; on the other fronts, I’m just saying that you should consider toning it down a little, that’s all. Not everyone is your enemy!

        • LT: Here are some facts we have posted on site:
          Gatorsports won’t tolerate malicious posts, and request all users behave in a civil and responsible manner.
          Personal attacks on members of the community will not be tolerated – remember to be respectful even in disagreement.
          Gatorsports.com reserves the right to ban, suspend or restrict access to any members believed to be in violation of this policy.
          LT, you can make your point while being civil. Others, like you, have strong opinions. It’s just an opinion.
          Thanks.

          • Arnold feliciano. Where were you over the last two weeks when all this started and people were personally attacking me??? I guess it’s ok for a pack of people to attack my every post and jerks like “Tampagator” who literally follow me around and just make stupid comments about me being an FSU fan and do not even broach the subject of the discussion. Where were you when that was happening???? You have my email address. Feel free to respond here or in private.

          • LT: I’ve been around, just been busy with other assignments. I read where you were giving it as much as you were taking it, so I left it alone. Maybe the first loss in weeks has brought out the worst in some the past couple of days. Today, the right person pointed out I should remind folks of the rules of the road on here. A discussion can be made without name-calling. Offenders won’t be tolerated.
            And, people, take political chatter to the Forum.

            Thanks, all.

      • Gatorguy17823. Typical modern day Gator fan. If someone says something you don’t like, just say they are a fan of a different team. Turning on your own has become a tradition for Gator fans. See Jeff Driskel, Muschamp, McElwain, and now Franks.

    • LT…The Florida fan base, although very critical and even insane at times is no different from most of the SEC and other big time program fan bases. They want results. See LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama fan bases and tell me if they are patient. See Texas, USC, Notre Dame….and see if they are patient when losing? That part I don’t get…how are we so different? You ever listen to Feinbaum if Bama dares to lose a game? Many of those Rhodes Scholars actually will say Saban may be losing it. LSUs base did not care for Les Miles while he was winning a title! When you say stuff like the typical Gator fan…it “sounds” like you aren’t one of US…just sayin’…go to another SEC site and do the same and see what you get.

      As far as the notion of coaching….a missing element in your comparison is between 1st time head coaches that could not get the offense rolling vs a guy who spent 9 years in the conference at a school with probably toughest sell to go there besides Vandy and Kentucky. Muschamp inherited a lot of knuckleheads and had to clean up the program…in his slight defense. The team Mac left Mullen was not good AT ALL. He continued to piece meal QBs instead of recruiting a successor to develop. The Del Rio and Appleby project…followed by another grad transfer in Malik Zaire from Notre Dame…categorically did not work. Maybe the Allen kid from St Thomas Aquinas, or Kyle Trask was that guy…who knows? For all the Treon Harris bashing…this was guy that beat out Wil Grier under Muschamp and was effective for a 1st year QB. It was like he forgot how to play football under McElwain and Nussmeier…ie regression. I’ve said this repeatedly…Muschamp and Mac both tried to be Alabama Jr and went away from the commodity that drives coached to Florida for talent…SPEED, and explosive offenses….TEAM speed on defense. Champ hired Charlie Weis to start up his tenure…which was beyond dumb as no one in their right mind felt that Charlie Weis was there for the long haul. He followed up with Pease…then flipped to a spread concept. Wil Grier derailed Mac….true you are, but his succession plans stunk…and his player development stunk. His aw shucks routine ran it’s course and by many accounts, body language etc…seemed like the job was too big for him. I was one of the guys here saying that he did win 2 East titles in two years, but year 3 was one that was so bad on countless fronts…that the change had to be made.

      Mullen track record AT FLORIDA…2 chips and an understanding of our base. Add 9 years of solid on the job training, the eye test, his play calling ability that adapts to personnel and to me there is a marked difference when you compare the last regime.

        • Appreciate that bro 6. Like Joe has stated…it’s more than just wins and losses when you look at a program and it “seems” like he is waiting to say “I told you so” with Mullen, when MOST who know football can see the change. We know Urban won with Zook’s guys in 2006, but even though he is an a**…2005 you saw a more physical, in shape team, and in 2006 a title run. I see a parallel with Mullen. Am I predicting a title next year…not necessarily, but I do feel the trajectory is going up and not running in place or backwards

  5. After the game , I spoke with a friend of mine who played on the scout team at Georgia the year they last won a NC–when many of you were in diapers or not born yet. I’ve often told my friend , when he starts running his mouth about Georgia, that we’d be more than happy to lend the Dawgs one of our 3 NC’s in football or 2 in basketball or any others in baseball, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, etc for a couple of months just to let them know what it feels like to have the trophy around for a while. To his credit, though he agreed with me the Gators were the tougher team. He also thought if our DB’s had turned around, we probably would have had a couple of picks. He thought we beat them up at the line of scrimmage for the most part , except for the lack of sacks. We agreed the difference was the QB’s in the end. Theirs played well. Ours didn’t.

  6. LT: Mac’s first 2 years success was based on the elite defense he was blessed to have via Will Muschamp when he got the job. Plain and simple. Once they were gone, the team had a losing season. Mac didn’t recruit and Mac didn’t develop players in the 2.5 years he was here.

    • Maybe so, Rob, but if Muschamp’s players were so elite, why didn’t he win with them? Those defenses were good statistically, but had trouble getting off the field against the better teams. The common response was to blame the offense for keeping them on the field, but that excuse doesn’t wash for the times they failed to hold on 3rd down in the 1st and 2nd quarters when fatigue shouldn’t have been a factor. One more thing: if Muschamp gets credit for Mac’s success because the players were his recruits, then why doesn’t Mac get at least some credit for Mullen’s success, since these players are Mac’s recruits?

    • Rob. And how do you not know the same thing is going to happen to Mullen?? You don’t. And that’s the whole point. Simply based on what’s happened so far, we don’t know Mullen won’t follow the same path MAC did. This isn’t really a hard concept to understand.

      • I think the part you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around, is seeing the difference in how Mullen runs his program compared to how Mac ran his. Gator fans also see the success he had at what was a historical SEC cellar dweller before he got there and how he made them a very respectable program for 9 years. Add on the fact that he ran one of the most potent offenses in Gator history while he was here and knows exactly what it takes to win, and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of confidence that he’s going to have more success than Mac. I mean just comparing the resumes alone, without looking at the obvious differences in coaching, should be enough to give you the confidence that a massive breakdown in the system isn’t going to happen. Mac had absolutely no experience running a power 5 program and it showed. Mullen has 9 years of highly successful experience doing it before he stepped foot on campus as the head coach. And by highly successful, I mean relative to the program he was running. Of course no one is guaranteeing the program won’t fall apart like it did with Mac, but it’s certainly not as outrageous as you seem to think, that Gators fans are more confident with Mullen at this point in his tenure.

  7. Finishing on a high note, ya think? WTF? Gators need to take one game at a time with complete focus on that game ONLY! We have to start by eliminating STUPID mistakes and the like. Start by looking for a 5 star QB recruit and secondary recruits.

  8. Mullen has us a year ahead of schedule. Thank you Coach!
    170 yards rushing against the Dawg D shows real improvement for the OLine this year.
    Seven stops at the one yard line shows tremendous effort by our D Line.
    Taking the lead in the third quarter despite the turnovers shows relentless effort.
    Let’s finally clean up the turnovers and penalties.
    Franks will need to improve for us to be a top 5 team and Jones needs more reps in the Spring.
    Our Special Teams did a fine job.
    The recruits got an eyeful of what our potential is next year. Hop on the train before it leaves.

    • I believe that if Emory puts in the effort for the remainder of the season and during bowl season practices and takes Mr. Savage’s S&C program seriously in January, he will win the starting job in April. Add in a productive summer and fall camp and we’ll see much improved QB play next fall. Long way to go to get there but if Emory puts in the effort, I think it’ll be his job to lose.